An anime DVD boxed set.
Nabari is an anime that is coming to the shores of North America for the first time ever thanks to Funimation. Based on a manga written and illustrated by Yuhki Kamatani, it was released in Japan by Square Enix back in 2004. The anime adaptation, which is being reviewed here, was directed by Kunihisa Sugishima, and animated by J.C.Staff then hit Japanese airwaves in April of 2008. Funimation has been working to get the series here for American viewing pleasure since the summer of 2008 and now it looks like all of the legal mumbo jumbo involved to do so is behind them as indicated by the fact that this, The Complete Series Part One is set for a September 22 stateside release. But before I get ahead of myself, let's take a look at the cold hard facts, shall we?
Nabari The Complete Series Part One comes in at a runtime of 325 minutes and contains 13 episodes spanning two discs. The discs come packaged in a pair of thin packs within a cardboard outer slipcase.
The show wears an appropriate TV 14 rating due to some slightly adult slanted themes of violence, war, and conflict. There is no nudity, swearing, or gore to report.
Language options are typical sub and dub, which means the viewer has the choice of running either the original Japanese dialog track (stereo) or an English dub (Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround) and the option of displaying English subtitles beneath either dialog choice.
Extras include textless songs, a commentary track from some of the English voice talent over Episode 2, and a host of upcoming Funimation anime previews.
The story, which is surprisingly complex, goes like this: The ho hum teen Miharu Rokujou wanted little more than to live a normal life in the hopes of one day inheriting an Okonomiyaki restaurant. His buddies at school (Kouichi & Kumohira) continually pressure him to join their martial arts club to which he respectfully declines time and time again. Miharu’s tune changes once he’s attacked by an actual group of ninjas and is protected by Kouichi and Kumohira. There, Miharu learns of a hidden world of ninjas and psychic powers (a place called Nabari) and discovers that people he thought he knew like his classmate and teacher were actually powerful figures in this new world. As they had been trying to convince him, his very survival depends upon his mastery of the mysterious art Shinra Banshou. Even more surprising is that Miharu discovers that he has a hijutsu (hidden technique) within him that just so happens to be control of the power of creation. Many rival clans are seeking the hijutsu as it is foretold that the one who possesses it will become the ruler of their world.
While this may sound fairly straightforward when spelled out as such, the truth of the matter is that Nabari’s presentation demands a viewer’s undivided attention. Expect episodes littered with flashbacks and recaps with hints of a deeper mystery being slowly unraveled in the moments between the action.
Speaking of, there are some seriously wicked action sequences scattered about which will hopefully shield many viewers from dismissing this property as simply a Naruto wannabe.
The first episode in particular sets a pretty cool pace for the rest of the episodes to follow with a nice combination of back-story and lead character development.
The music score is appropriate and melds well with the visuals neither outshining the images nor becoming lost to the background. Voice work is nice and tight in both language options with my vote leaning slightly to the English dub due to the fact that the story isn’t linear and many names/ words can be confusing in any language. As such the less I had to keep sorted at the time of viewing, the better.
Funimation has already announced plans to release the remaining 13 episodes of the show to the North American market and I suspect it will be a very desirable purchase to anyone who has the pleasure of watching this collection.
What did you think of this review?